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Don’t Arm Ukraine (II)

Arming Ukraine won't result in anything other than more deaths and devastation in Ukraine.

Medien Bundeswehr / Flickr

The Post insists that NATO members provide Ukraine with weapons:

But Russia’s invasion could still be checked, or at least slowed, by concerted action this week. Individual NATO members, including the United States, should immediately begin supplying the Ukrainian army with lethal weapons, as congressional leaders from both parties have been urging. Ukraine needs anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, drones, spare parts and fuel, among other things, and these are readily available in NATO members’ arsenals.

It’s telling that no one in favor of arming Ukraine believes that it would do anything more than drag out the conflict. That’s the best-case scenario. It is just as likely that Russia would respond to the arming of Ukraine by Western governments with a much larger attack that inflicts even greater damage on the country. Russia has consistently been willing to go much farther than the U.S. and its allies in terms of what it will risk over Ukraine, and we should assume that will also apply to its response to attempts by Western powers to arm Ukraine. At each stage of the Ukraine crisis, Western governments have pursued their policies there without considering how Russia would respond to them. This has repeatedly put Western governments in the absurd position of provoking reactions from Moscow that they should have expected but failed to anticipate.

There are apparently no illusions that Ukraine can hope to win an ongoing war with Russia, but there is still the same impulse to throw weapons at the problem all the same. Perversely, supporting this bad option is considered the “pro-Ukrainian” position, as if Ukraine will somehow benefit by fighting a longer, more destructive war that it still cannot win. Arming Ukraine won’t result in anything other than more deaths and devastation in Ukraine before the government in Kiev is forced to come to terms with Moscow and its proxies. The U.S. and its NATO allies should make clear to Ukraine at the upcoming alliance summit that military aid won’t be forthcoming and that NATO membership for the country is out of the question.